I carried on a love affair with France for many years. And, like many romantic unions, there came a moment when the decision was made to live together...or at least I decided that I would live with France. I closed my business in California, sold my home, packed a few precious essentials in a suitcase: a set of adorable ceramic shower curtain hooks - PARIS hand-painted on each knob - a large cast iron frying pan, my barley-stuffed meditation cushion, a few sticks of incense, and a paperback copy of Madame Bovary in French (that I couldn't yet read without cracking open my French/English dictionary at every other word - also included in the bounty that stuffed my valise). You know, just the bare necessities a girl might need in a new life. Very patient friends ("What on earth do you have in this thing, Leslie?! Rocks?!") hefted that suitcase onto the sidewalk at the airport in San Diego and I made the leap to live my dream. I had been making photographs of Provence for Façonnable's US market and I longed to live in that light; to give myself a chance to nourish my creative spirit - like so many artists before me.
And, as is the case in many relationships, it was complicated.
Our twelve years together, France and I, resulted in a life full of adventure and challenge and richness and learning - and the tangible results of working papers and an ongoing collection of images that reflect a je ne sais quoi artistic POV - which landed me a teaching gig, Introduction to Fine Art Photography, at an American university program. I would also add that I built and maintained a private psychotherapy practice working with anglophones in the south of France dealing with various issues around the inevitable cultural adjustment. Such things occur when one plunges oneself head-first into a foreign culture...something I happen to know just a little bit about.
But there came a moment when France and I came to a crossroads in our relationship: I didn't seem to be able to get my creative projects fully launched as I had dreamed. The nuts-and-bolts kinds of details like vendors, supplies, international shipping fees - and managing trying to sell given currency conversions between continents - seemed elusive, always just out of reach no matter how I tried to tweak the equation. A decision was called for and mine was to return to California to see my creative intention all the way through.
France just rolled a cigarette and shrugged.
Though the love affair continues, we are now a bi-continental couple. The happy result is the launch of atelier 27 press, a working studio where we create and produce a growing line of gifts, books, photographic prints, and high quality, beautifully packaged, suitable-for-framing, affordably priced greeting cards to inspire customers worldwide. All images are original - my very own visual love letter, of sorts, reflecting my eternal affection for stretches from Paris to Provence...and beyond.
I work with some really fine folks to bring it all together. Not only do they provide the high quality materials and service that I value, but they also have an appreciation for putting something lovely out into the world.
Thank you for stopping in. I hope you enjoy our collections. May they bring beauty and joy to the senders and receivers alike.